Chapter

Introduction Doing What Comes Naturally

Lorraine Daston and Fernando Vidal

in The Moral Authority of Nature

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226136806
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226136820 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226136820.003.0001
Introduction Doing What Comes Naturally

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This book is about how humans use nature to think about standards of the good, the beautiful, the just, and the valuable. The chapters concentrate less on the question of whether nature is or should be used in this fashion than on the how, why, and what of nature's authority in the human realm. The book examines how nature's authority works in different times and places, why it is a force to wield or to escape, and to which domains it does (or does not) apply. It aims to advance discussion about the interactions of the natural and the human beyond controversies over social constructionism versus realism, questions of transgressive boundary crossings between the categories of nature and culture (or society, nurture, civilization, artifice), and exposures of ideologies and fallacies (naturalistic, pathetic). Key to this project is understanding what “nature” means and has meant in a range of contexts, and what kinds of authority these meanings exert.

Keywords: nature; social constructionism; realism; ideologies; boundary crossings; human realm

Chapter.  8352 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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